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VARIOUS ARTISTS - The West Highland Way Connection

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The West Highland Way Connection
SFF Records SFF004

This is the second compilation album, which has been released with the truly laudable aim of raising funds for the Lochaber Hydrotherapy charity, which is working to build and equip a hydrotherapy pool and sports injury clinic for Lochaber residents and visitors. That in itself is extremely worthwhile, and so is listening to this CD.  Nearly an hour and a quarter of first-class music and singing is gathered together here, as you might expect on a collection sub-titled ‘A Celebration of Scottish Music Volume 2’.  The preceding volume has become Scotland’s biggest selling charity CD, and this is no lesser quality.  With the seventeen tracks coming from the likes of Cliar, Daimh, Skipinnish and the Vatersay Boys, there is an immediate West Highland feel to the whole thing, and Shooglenifty and Midge Ure also pop up to give their own musical slants.

It is always problematic when reviewing compilations, because not all of the artists can be fully detailed.  This doesn’t stop personal choice sneaking in, however, and I could just keep playing Rachel Walker’s stunning arrangement of ‘Oran Chalum Sgaire’ over and over.  Like all good compilations, the tracks arerelated back to the original releases, so it can act as a taster which listeners can follow up as they please.  Billy McIsaac has produced a well-packaged CD, with details about the West Highland Way, the National Park and the Lochaber area, in addition to information about the musicians.  Yes, there will be a certain appeal to tourists, but what’s wrong with that, especially if it encourages further exploration of our music?

Buy this to support a good cause, and also for some fine, fine music.

Gordon Potter

 

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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.